Those of you who read autobiographies and/or who know me well, may of course have guessed that the title of this post is taken unashamedly from “Moab Is My Washpot” the first of (I believe two) Autobiographies by Stephen Fry.
And those of you who know me well may of course know that although an avid writer myself I have long since stopped writing and indeed reading very much lately because my mental health has caused my memory and focus to suffer greatly. You will also know just how much sadness and concern that fact has brought me.
Well I am delighted to say that a friend recently sent my both of Stephen Fry’s autobiographies (as a result of his being certain he had sent one of them to me before and my being certain that he had indeed not.)and so I determined to give reading them a try.
I have to be totally honest here. As I said earlier, I had all but given up reading, let alone writing, as my memory and focus had deteriorated so much that whenever I tried to read the minute I would start a paragraph I would struggle to remember the content of the previous paragraph let alone page, chapter etc.
So I started reading Stephen Fry’s first autobiography with little optimism – little optimism you understand at my ability to read it, not at it’s entertainment/interest value (which I never doubted having gained respect for Fry’s intellect and character some years since).
And I am so very delighted that not only did I manage to read it all but I absolutely devoured it! A few weeks ago my doctor put me on a course of Folic Acid as my Folic Acid levels came back low in one of the many regular blood tests that I have and on researching it I noted with some interest that Folic Acid can have an affect on your memory and focus. So I can only assign the obvious improvements that I have noticed as a result of that.
So what of Fry S. J’s “Moab is my washpot”? Well I absolutely loved it. I read it and as I did I laughed, smiled, chuckled, grimaced, regretted, hoped and yes I even wept. But most of all I related. Yes I related. Related to so much of what Stephen shared through this his first autobiography.
Open, honest, gritty, raw, delightful, plight-full, intriguing, reflective and reflecting and even self-deprecating in so many parts, I cannot begin to explain how appreciative I am of having had opportunity to read this work and indeed how much of it I so very much related to and how it has caused me to consider the child and youth I once was.
Like myself Stephen has long since been open about the mental health challenges he faces and like myself he has a love of words, the arts, and literature and poetry and film and … And for many years now I have respected all these things in him even if we do part when it comes to some beliefs and some relationship practices. But I am fairly confident that Stephen Fry (were he to even have the interest or opportunity to comment) would agree with me that we should not alienate but celebrate the differences we each have. For those very differences, just as much as the similarities, that we all have are what make us so wonderfully interesting and compatible.
So tonight (or this early morning as it is now 4:17 am here) I find myself both encouraged and reflective…
Encouraged by the fact that I could even manage to read it. Encouraged to find someone else with whom I share so many thoughts, circumstances, experiences, shadows and indeed “unbelongings” (Yes I know that isn’t really a word, but hey, all words had to be created somewhere and by someone) .
Reflective over the state, impact and tragic beauty of my mental health. Reflective over the people currently and who have been in my life. The relationships and indeed lack of them. Reflective of the person I am, was never got to be and indeed became and will be.
Reflective over “My whole life stretched out gloriously behind me.”